I’ve been teaching yoga in prisons for a couple of years now.
The authenticity one encounters behind the walls is unlike much of the outside world.
They generally don’t hide their emotions behind a carefully-crafted veil.
What you see is what you get.
I love every minute of it and share my heart and struggles willingly. I feel more at home communicating about the stuff of life there than I do at our local pub.
I often ask myself why this is and realize that my true self, the Scorpio who enjoys diving deep into the muck of what makes us such beautifully flawed humans, is met with resistance at many of my social gatherings.
I have always been enamored with the stories of Jesus choosing to hang with the sinners of his time, the outcasts. I contemplate being a bit of an outcast, choosing to live a life in accordance with a combination of Christ-centered and yogic sensibilities.
I’m addicted to connection—real, heart to heart, transformative encounters.
I believe we are all looking for a way to fill the void, that fear of being alone, dying alone. Some of us get addicted to drugs, alcohol, shopping, gambling and sex in our attempts.
Something shifts in me when I look in their eyes and say to myself,
“I am you and you are me.”
But I can’t honestly avoid the cynic in me entirely. I still wonder how much of my service is self-serving and unpure. I wonder what addictions and svadhyaya (self-study) shadows I remain blind to.
And since Jesus said,
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
I am addicted to yoking with breath to the Son of Man’s wisdom.
At least that’s my hope.
Connected and Addicted
and the sound of ujjayi breath
conferring ecstatic silence
behind prison walls
that smell like home
and maybe urine
taking up my own cross
embracing my own
asana led in the halfway house
only to find
the weekend sluts
and the greedy druggie
look like me
at the inner
the one jesus loved
so they sit
chin in hand
she knows more than she’ll ever understand
getting high, drunk and horny
it’s the same
and each morning we salute the sun
praying to a god
who might crucify our minds
and prostitute our loss
making us weak
and a fistful of
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Anita Brown
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: Q Thomas Bower/flickr